Shabby treatment of teen sitters - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 13yo daughter babysits for a few neighbors on the block. She tells them she is not allowed to babysit passed 10:00 (although the truth is she just doesn't want to), and they routinely show up an hour late. She charges very little ($5/hr.), and they usually don't pay her for the full amount of her time. Last week she was there for 6 hours and they paid her $25. They also have her walk home alone at 11:00 at night. Granted, it is only 1/2 a block in a safe neighborhood. Am I wrong to think it would be common courtesy to see her home? Are all teen sitters treated this disrespectfully? My daughter complains to me, but doesn't say anything to the parents. Anyone have any advice for helping her stand up for herself?
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#2 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 01:49 PM
 
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Your daughter has an absolute right for those parents to see her home. Walking down a street alone, thirteen, at 11:00 at night is asking for trouble. I'm pretty sure that those parents wouldn't want their kids doing that when thye reach thirteen.

Routinely arriving late and not paying the baby-sitter for her trouble is rude. The truth is some people take advantage of young sitters because they may think that they don't know any better, and that they won't know they've been treated disrespectfully. However the truth is, if this were an older sitter, I'm not so sure they would be so blatant about it. It is common courtesty to pay sitters for staying late if they do.

If I were you, I would would sit down with my daughter, and the family, and politely inform them that she is not allowed to baby-sit after ten, and that you would appreciate them complying with the rules you set for her. Explain together how you both feel uncomfortable about having her walking home at 11:00. Gently expalin how you would feel much more comfortable with her being given a ride, or at least have someone walk with her.

If the family seems unwilling to budge, then I'd have you daughter discontinue baby-sitting for them. It is dangerous for her to be walking home alone in the dark(this is how many children get kidnapped, raped, or worse)and disrespectful of them to not pay her inconvenience.

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#3 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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When I was a sitter I used to confirm what time they said they would be home. I would inform the families that if they come home after that it was an additional 10-15 dollars and hour. I also would write down when I got there and have them sign it and then write when they came home so that they could see the calculations.

Not getting paid the correct amount used to tick me off and I would remind them the next time I sat for them.

They also need to walk her home or you need to go pick her up. There is no reason that she should be walking home alone that late.
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#4 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 03:23 PM
 
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I would try to be her advocate. Show up at their house at 10 pm, ready to pick up your daughter so she doesn't have to walk. If they are not home yet, they will find that it's you and her waiting for them.

It's possible she is having trouble with "pleasant" negotiations and you may want to help role-play with her about that - maybe next time you're in the car, you can practice a phone call with her, or what to say when they've miscalculated.

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#5 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 03:28 PM
 
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I would also talk to the neighbor with her or by yourself. I think 13 is kind of young to have to confront adults. When I babysat (years ago) the parents always walked me home and treated me kindly.
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#6 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apricot
I would try to be her advocate. Show up at their house at 10 pm, ready to pick up your daughter so she doesn't have to walk. If they are not home yet, they will find that it's you and her waiting for them.
I LIKE this, very much.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#7 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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I agree with the previous posters. Definitely don't feel shy involving yourself.

With all the teen sitters we've had, we've actually had to deal with their parents, who have insisted on meeting us, walking her over the first day, etc. I've had parents on the phone say that their daughter can only babysit for me that night if she's home by 10 because she has something going on the next morning - and I know those parents vet the babysitting jobs, and am sure that if they were unhappy the sitter wouldn't be back again another time!

You've not been doing anything wrong, but I'd move to advocating for her a little more. 13 is young, too - some of the girls who've sat for us have been 16 and still had mom do the negotiating...
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#8 of 18 Old 03-08-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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: it's completely rude of them to show up late and underpay her! if she/you talks to them, and they continue, she should just not babysit for them anymore.

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#9 of 18 Old 03-09-2006, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses. These ideas really help to get me thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apricot
I would try to be her advocate. Show up at their house at 10 pm, ready to pick up your daughter so she doesn't have to walk. If they are not home yet, they will find that it's you and her waiting for them.
This would not be very practical for us. I have three other children, one of which is a toddler, and my husband is often out of town, so I can't leave in the evenings. Also, my 13yo is pretty mature, and likes to have the babysitting be her thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apricot
It's possible she is having trouble with "pleasant" negotiations and you may want to help role-play with her about that - maybe next time you're in the car, you can practice a phone call with her, or what to say when they've miscalculated.
This is a great idea. I bet it would be really helpful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammastar2
With all the teen sitters we've had, we've actually had to deal with their parents, who have insisted on meeting us, walking her over the first day, etc.
These are neighbors on the block, so I do know them fairly well.

I guess I've veiwed the babysitting sitting jobs as a great thing for learning reponsibility and gaining a bit of independence. She has handled it all on her own so far, and feels pretty proud of the $600+ she has saved towards a lap top computer. I would love to help her be more assertive, without stepping in and taking over. I don't want her to feel like she can't negotiate on her own.
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#10 of 18 Old 03-09-2006, 04:42 PM
 
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I think it's really hard for kids to deal with the adults in a business situation.

I think having things on paper can definitely help. I like the idea of having some kind of a form to write down when she goes "on duty" and when she's off.

I think it's hard though, sometimes, for the parents to know exactly when they will be home. My husband and I go to see plays, and unless I call the theatre ahead of time, we don't know exactly when it will finish.

I would suggest maybe she print up a little something with her fees, a "late" charge if she wants to do that, etc. I guess for my own DD, if they weren't walking her home, I would say something to the parents myself.
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#11 of 18 Old 03-11-2006, 11:32 PM
 
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I can certainly understand where she's coming from! I never babysat, but my mom had a few girls babysit us from time to time. She never paid them under $40 (Mom would be gone 9-5) and always drove them to and from our house.

I also understand that she doesn't want Mom taking over her thing, but she has to understand that the $5-10 that they short her is less money torwards her laptop. If they can afford a night out, a babysitter, etc. They can afford to pay her what she asked, and if they're late, a tip on top of that.

If the family is unwilling to take her home, then you should get your kids in the car and go. If the parents come home to Babysitter, Mom, and siblings, they won't be late again!!
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#12 of 18 Old 03-15-2006, 05:30 PM
 
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I think it is great that you are so supportive of her independence and proud of her for taking on babysitting so successfully! If she wants to try first on her own to resolve this, I'd help her to think through how to she can raise the issue strategically and how to set limits that the parents will have to meet. I also wouldn't hesitate to speak with them directly if they don't understand...your priority is taking care of your daughter and it is definitely within normal bounds to want her home safely and on time!
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#13 of 18 Old 03-21-2006, 10:20 AM
 
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The parents are not paying the proper amount, and making her WALK HOME alone an hour after her curfew. I would let the parents know why your dd will not being tending to their children anymore. I have not come across that type of behavior,but have read plenty of stories of parents taking advantage of the sitter. It is just not worth the $5(well she really gets less) an hour.

Try to find other work for her,and let those parents know ahead of time what your rules are,and that that was the reason your child no longer sits for the other parents. If you allow it people will take advantage of you!
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#14 of 18 Old 03-22-2006, 10:11 PM
 
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Not paying the full amount is stealing. She needs to tell them how much they owe and stick to her guns, and I liked someone else's idea of increasing the rate after 10:00. If they keep treating her this way, she will probably want to stop babysitting for them.
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#15 of 18 Old 03-26-2006, 08:29 PM
 
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sunnysideup, have things gotten any better lately?
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#16 of 18 Old 03-27-2006, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for asking, bayberry. All of the advice has been helpful. I decided I would call and ask the parents to make sure to see her home if it's after dark (since this one is really my issue). Dd decided she would type out and print up a rate sheet that outlined her hourly rate with an extra charge for being late. We have talked about what she could do if she were underpaid again, and role played bringing it up to the parents. It's all feeling much better. I think dd feels a little more in control of the situation.

I think what bothers me the most about this is the general lack of repect for teenagers that most people seem to have.
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#17 of 18 Old 03-27-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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added to the general lack of respect a lot of people have for babysitters overall. I learned a lot from my nannying experiences- many people are more considerate of their hair stylist than their child care provider.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#18 of 18 Old 03-27-2006, 11:31 AM
 
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I'm a mother of smaller children who has recently had to hire a baby sitter now and again so my dh and I can have some "us" time. I babysat as a teen (older teen) and have never had poor treatment or non-payment -- that was many, many, many years ago.

For Saturday, the teen said her parents could drop her off or pick her up. That isn't necessary, but I told her if they wanted to that was fine. They would probably like to see where she is going. If it is a non-driving teen, I've picked up and drove them home. I had a young teen driver and I made sure we were home before the cut off time for her to drive home and I called her home before she left so they knew to expect her soon.

As for payment, if I pick up at 4:30pm and leave the house at 5pm, I still pay the sitter for the 30 minutes. And if the $ amount ends up odd, I round up -- mostly b/c I can and I want to. The girls don't ask for much around here, $2 per hour per child in multiple child homes).

For example: We went to an all day marriage conference a few months ago. I picked up at 7:15am and we were home at 3:45pm, she was dropped off at 4pm. I based the pay on 9 hours at $6 which was not really even, I paid her $60. I think that is being nice and I liked her, she knew something about food allergies which is a help w/ my Celiac son. I'd like her to feel that she could sit for me again. I also know she is earning money for a missions trip with our church this summer, so why not help her out if I can. She'll be sitting for me again this Sat.

I use sitters so infrequently that the girl I used the 1st time was not baby sitting a year later b/c she had a job. The 2nd girl I hired was not mature enough for me, this young girl was just turned 14 and the youngest in the family. She also didn't follow the instructions I left. She put my kids to bed at 7pm about an hour after we left! I left instructions not to put them in their PJs until 8:30pm and that when we got home around 9:30pm I'd put them in bed. They screamed for a while and then she took the youngest out of the crib. And now I'm using girl #3 and she is younger than I like, age 14, but definitely more mature than #2.

When I babysat I was 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 -- there were no other jobs for teens. I grew up overseas. When I was 11 & 12 the neighbor wanted some extra help in the house, so I would come over after school and entertain her 2 girls and get paid some. I don't recall what the mother was doing. It was nice b/c I got to experience taking care of kids with an adult near by. Of course, I remember at age 18 calling my mother up and asking her what I should do! (Parents were late and older baby was screaming, hitting my chest and her 3 yr old twin brothers said she didn't drink from a bottle. I could do nothing for her, it was horrible. I found a bottle and didn't know if I should give the poor girl some water or not.) So I try to remember that and give good instructions and notes b/c nothing is worse than having a screaming baby that isn't yours!!! And every situation is different and what worked for the neighbor's children, may not work for the couple down the street.

The sitter my mother used when we were kids was 16 or 17 and then her brother at 16 and 17. I honestly do not like leaving my children, especially babies under 2 in the care of young teens (13 and 14 and some 15 yr olds). But as one mother of a teen told me, as soon as they can get a real job they do b/c it pays better. But I've found some teens are more able to handle the responsibility than others, unfortunately you can't always know that even if you ask the parent until you try the young person out.

Anyway, I am sorry your dd is being 'abused' by those hiring her. I think I would call the parents, but then again I might want to teach my dd to stand up for herself polietly. I think it will depend on my dd and the severity of the situation. I would definitely place a phone call to the family who let her walk home at 11pm by herself -- that is just wrong. Did they call you so you could step outside and look for her? If it was a few houses, I would not mind if I knew she was coming and I could step out to the curb and watch her from their driveway to mine. If there are any blind spots on the trip, that is not acceptable, nice neighborhood or not -- it's dangerous, it only takes a couple of seconds to loose your child forever to a preditor.
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